Virginia pharmacy school files suit against accreditation agency, calls process 'bizarrely contradictory and Kafkaesque'

Hampton (Va.) University filed a federal lawsuit against the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, alleging the agency unfairly withdrew accreditation from its pharmacy school.

The ACPE withdrew Hampton's pharmacy program accreditation in February, citing the school's noncompliance with student progression through the PharmD program and partial compliance with assessment criteria. 

Hampton held accreditation with probation after ACPE's February withdrawal, but lost it when the ACPE Appellate Commission upheld the withdrawal June 11. The school told local NBC affiliate WAVY that the agency has not made it seem like it would change the accreditation states once improvements were implemented.

The complaint, filed July 23, claims the ACPE withdrew the school's accreditation in a "bizarrely contradictory and Kafkaesque bureaucratic process rife with bias and revenge."

Hampton's lawsuit demands the pharmacy school's accreditation withdrawal be declared null and void and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

The university is a historically Black university, and it says it is among the top three producers of Black pharmacists in the country. The school has also reported that more than 96 percent of its pharmacy students work in underserved communities after graduation, according to WAVY. Graduates cannot practice pharmacy unless their degree comes from an ACPE-accredited school.

"If ACPE's arbitrary action is not reversed, then the accrediting agency will have unilaterally terminated an extremely important community-oriented pharmacy program at one of the nation’s premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities during a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted those communities which [Hampton University's pharmacy school] serves," the complaint reads.

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